Consul Message: Security Concern
Security Message for U.S. Citizens - Possibility for Retaliation Following TCO Arrests
Dated June 12, 2012
The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens traveling and residing in Mexico to the enhanced potential for violence related to today’s arrests of Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) associates and family members residing in the United States.
This morning, U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested associates and family members of a senior TCO member, and seized property and assets within the United States. These arrests could result in some form of retaliation and/or anti-American violence. Given the history and resources of this violent TCO, the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to maintain a low profile and a heightened sense of awareness.
Encourage your American friends, family, neighbors, and others you know to register with us. American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
The U.S. Consulate General in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, has responsibility for the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche. The Consulate can be reached during its regular business hours (M-F, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) by telephone at 999-942-5700; by fax at 999-942-5777; and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, for emergencies involving U.S. citizens, call the Consulate’s main number and follow instructions to be connected to the Merida duty officer.
CONSULATE GENERAL MERIDA (Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31, Colonia Alcala Martin, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico)
Main switchboard dialing from the US: 011-52-999-942-5700
Main switchboard dialing from outside Merida but within Mexico: 01-999-942-5700
Consular Section, U.S. Consulate General Merida
John 11 years ago
Here is the story about the recent events...
Updated on 06/13/2012 2:24PM
Top Quarter Horse owners indicted in connection with Mexican drug cartel
By Steve Andersen
Three horses who qualified last weekend for the $1,041,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity at Los Alamitos on June 24 have been seized by federal officials after their owners were arrested on Tuesday on money laundering charges involving a notorious Mexican drug cartel that used funds to allegedly purchase Quarter Horses in the United States.
Horses belonging to Tremor Enterprises, operated by Jose Trevino Morales and members of his family, and Bonanza Racing Stables, operated by Fernando Solis Garcia, have been ordered seized, according to a 25-page indictment issued by the FBI.
Morales, 45, his wife, Zulema, 38, and Garcia, 29, were among seven of the 14 individuals arrested on Tuesday in California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, the FBI said.
FBI officials declined comment on Tuesday regarding how many other horses were seized at Los Alamitos, Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, and at farms in Oklahoma and Texas. Jose Antonio Flores, who trains two of the three affected qualifiers for the Ed Burke Million Futurity â€“ Mr Ease Cartel and Super Long Straw â€“ said the horses were taken out of Los Alamitos on Tuesday.
â€œItâ€™s really a shame,â€ Flores said on Wednesday.
The arrests stemmed from a federal grand jury indictment issued in Texas in May and unsealed on Tuesday. The case was first reported online on Tuesday by the New York Times.
Two prominent California-based Quarter Horse trainers â€“ Adan Farias, 32, and Felipe Alejandro Quintero, 28 â€“ were also arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday and remain in federal custody in connection with the money laundering case, the FBI said.
Quintero trains the Bonanza-owned Streak Hitter, who qualified for the Ed Burke final in Sundayâ€™s time trials. Bonanza Racing is also listed as owner of Super Long Straw, another Burke qualifier. Tremor is listed as owner of Burke qualifier Mr Ease Cartel, who was third in the Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos on May 20.
The arrests and indictments are part of a multi-year investigation by the government into money laundering activities of the Los Zetas drug cartel. The indictment stated that Jose Trevino Morales and his brothers, Los Zetas leaders Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, 38, and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales, 36, used revenue from drug sales to purchase Quarter Horses in the United States since 2008.
Garciaâ€™s Bonanza Racing was reported in the indictment to be a front for the money laundering activities of Los Zetas â€œused to conceal and disguise the ownership of Quarter Horses.â€
The Tremor stable has included such notable runners as Tempting Dash, the winner of the 2009 Dash For Cash and Texas Classic futurities at Lone Star Park; Mr Piloto, the winner of the All American Futurity for trainer Quintero at Ruidoso Downs in 2010; and the filly Separate Fire, the winner of the 2011 Kindergarten and Ed Burke Million futurities at Los Alamitos.
Mr Piloto stood at stud this year at Jose Trevinoâ€™s Zule Farm in Lexington, Okla. Tempting Dash stood at a farm in Elgin, Texas.
According to the FBIâ€™s indictment, the Zule farm property has been ordered seized. Separate Fire was reportedly on that farm when it was seized.
The Tremor and Bonanza breeding and racing stables are believed to own approximately 500 Quarter Horses of all ages, according to a person familiar with their operations.
Farias, who has not trained since last fall because of a series of positive tests for a banned muscle builder at Los Alamitos, and Quintero, who had horses in five trials on Sunday, were named in the indictment for their involvement in money laundering practices.
The indictment states that Quintero â€œadvised members and associates of Los Zetas on Quarter Horse purchases, training and racing,â€ and said that Farias met with Miguel Trevino â€œand others to discuss the laundering of proceeds via the Quarter Horse industry.â€
â€œThis case is a prime example of the ability of Mexican drug cartels to establish footholds in legitimate U.S. industries, and highlights the serious threats that money laundering causes to our financial system,â€ Richard Weber, chief of IRS criminal investigation, said in a statement released by the FBI.
The Los Zetas cartel is based in the northern city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, across from Laredo, Texas, and has been heavily involved in a bloody drug war in recent years that has claimed more than 50,000 lives in that country, according to reports.
It was unclear on Wednesday how the seizure of the Tremor and Bonanza horses would affect the Ed Burke Million Futurity. In one scenario, only the seven remaining qualifiers will start. In another situation, the 11th through 13th fastest qualifiers would join the field.
Officials with the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association, which administers the race, and Los Alamitos officials met on Wednesday. Track officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.
(0 to 1 comments)